By the way…

April 30th

… did we ever tell the story of one foreign worker we treated? She worked as a domestic, brought in through the very program now making the news.

She was employed as a domestic, until she became pregnant, and started throwing up a lot. Her employer did 2 things. First, they paid her below minimum wage, something they could not do with a Canadian citizen. Secondly, they fired her when her vomiting revealed she was pregnant.

She tried to get another job. Same problems. Unemployed, she lost her health insurance.

She had no money to pay for her rent, food, or the healthcare she would now have to pay for her pregnancy and delivery care.

She is now in debt, with child.

The foreign worker program is rubbish. It has no teeth to protect workers, or Canadians. It abuses them, and it was set up to be abused.


The Foreign worker Program from CIC is Rubbish

2013 / April 30th

Hmmmm? The foreign worker program reeks, eh. Stinks to high heaven of political manipulation of immigrants, by the CIC boss, yet again. This time the purpose may be to bestow financial incentives on businesses, or maybe to use immigrants and immigration policy to drive down fair wages for Canadians while suppressing wages for immigrants

Gotta admire that – let’s blame immigrants again. Better still, let’s abuse them!

You can’t make this stuff up. How can nonsense like this be how our immigration policy is determined? Whatever the motive, the program is blatantly incompetent and corrupt. For that alone Mr Kenny must resign. The program is Rubbish, a sham. It’s impact has meant hardship for thousands of newcomers to Canada – denied a fair wage, fired at the drop of a hat, minimal if any workplace protection.

Please, I will not be organizing any support events for Mr Kenny. I don’t like the man’s politics. I don’t like how he arrogantly messes up the healthcare of refugee claimants when ill, who have endured more hardships in a year than this fancy lad ever has.  I don’t like how he arrogantly dismisses those who disagree with him.

I don’t like how he manipulates Canada’s immigration policies to reflect his personal outlooks and beliefs.

That being said I still think he should resign for the mismanagement and abuse within the foreign worker policies he oversees. He would demand nothing less from any of us who screwed up this badly. He would demand it because he would say the country deserves better.

He would be right.


Hotel Rwanda. Ruth dropped by to say hello.

Clinic, April 17th, 2013

Ruth dropped by to the clinic yesterday. She has her OHIP now, and her Canadian status. But it wasn’t always that way. She also has her new husband, and her newborn child. Ruth dropped in to say hello. We were so happy to reconnect.

We first met Ruth about 8 years ago. She arrived in Canada as a refugee claimant. Rwanda, her native home land, had betrayed Ruth. The racial, religious, tribal, and brutal conflicts took everything from her. They took her children, and family, and hacked them to death in front of her.

Ruth left. She came to Canada. She filed a refugee claim. We ( Canada) didn’t make that easy. No slam dunk here. God only knows why? The IRB ( Immigration and Refugee Board) is a national disgrace. Has been for a long time. Laced with pork barrel political appointees over the years, it understands little of what it adjudicates in many cases. It is rife for political persuasion. It is, a joke.

Healthcare dried up for this brave but mentally broken soul. As others do, Ruth drifted into the shadows. Her seizures, worsened by the horrific traumas escalated out of control. Her moods plummeted into a depression and PTSD abyss.

And yet, through it all, Ruth’s spirit prevailed. Some Canadians cared. Her social worker at  the Centre for Victim’s of Torture arranged pro bono mental healthcare. God Bless them. The CVC lent a hand with her epilepsy care. Her neurologist waived her fees. How could we not?

A few years ago we learned that Ruth found a new mate in Toronto. A gentle man sent by a different reality. Together, they delivered a baby – a beautiful baby girl. Last night, Ruth brought her Canadian baby, her child, all limbs attached, to see us, to be introduced, to touch and hold. Ruth’s tearful smile was all that was needed.

Ruth lives in Toronto with her child and husband. She smiles more. She is legally in Canada now. She can vote.

The CIC had the power then to deny Ruth, 8 years ago. Why do they need more power now? That power apparently is no match for the power of the human spirit to survive, and thrive. Mr Kenney and the Conservatives don’t stand a chance against it, never will, thank God. All they can do is try to weaken a nation. And it seems they cannot succeed at that, fortunately.

Maybe it is true? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Regardless, Canada is stronger because Ruth is here. We are stronger because she reminds us what courage is all about, and what the human spirit is capable of.

I feel ashamed when I get overwhelmed by the clinic, and some nights wish I could be at home resting.

“A Revenue Stream” ??

In a recent post we outlined the ongoing tragic situation of an uninsured denied refugee claimant who has a bill for over $1500 for 2 visits to GTA  ERs.

$1500 is a lot of money – for most of us. It is an insurmountable sum of money for a refugee women in a shelter.

While recently reviewing some health data on the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), I was surprised to learn that in 2010 ( the most recent statistic year) the average cost for an ER visit in Ontario was $148.

Perhaps visits to GTA hospitals are higher? We have long wondered why uninsured refugee claimants and immigrants are asked for $500 up front to get ER treatment? We wonder why we have never heard of any of these patients having any of that money returned. Many have been asked to pay more during their visit.

How can it be that every uninsured new Canadian entering the ER has an illness worth the same $500 price tag? How can every ER in the GTA have the same operating costs?

When I worked in hospital administration, a senior VP once remarked that we could not lower the cost for uninsured care, or make it reflect the correct cost as hospital’s with deficits considered uninsured refugees and immigrants “a revenue stream, in the same category of high parking fees.”

I wonder what becomes of any of us who feel we have any right to make money off the backs of the poor and vulnerable when they are ill – off the back of a 30 year old refugee women in a shelter with a severe injury from domestic abuse.

An injury she left the ER with twice – untreated.